TitleLocating Korean American adoptees
NamePark, Jane J. (author), Schein, Louisa (chair), Hodgson, Dorothy (internal member), Guarnaccia, Peter (internal member), Kim, Eleana (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Korean Americans--Ethnic identity
DescriptionBased on multi-site ethnographic methods and in-depth interviews, my dissertation explores identities and subjectivities of Korean American adoptees. Korean adoptee experiences of racial discrimination and the stigma of adoptee status enable their out-of-place subjectivity, indicating that a common identity can be constructed over the life course out of everyday mundane interactions. Drawing on methodology of Willis’ “ethnographic imagination” (2000), I examine mundane social interactions as ethnographic moments that engender and sustain out-of-place subjectivity. As Korean adoptees mature, shared experiences of being alienated and stigmatized intensify the affect that they feel toward each other. The affective identification that they feel provides the bases upon which they can build a lasting bond, an emotional kinship. This creation of bond is aided by spaces centered on adoptees, such as culture camps, adoptee gatherings, and heritage tours, where Korean adoptees meet and interact. I further analyze the sociocultural factors that give force to the adoptee bond, drawing on the concepts of “racial melancholia” (Eng and Han, 2000) and “haunting” (Gordon, 1997) to comprehend this unique emotional bond among Korean adoptees. In contrast to the iconic representations of Korean adoptees/Korean Americans in media as perpetual foreigners, Korean adoptees’ “stories” illustrate that they are just as much a product of varied American cultural milieus as anyone. As such, generational differences are found among Korean adoptees of varying age cohorts, deriving from historically different cultural discourses and practices, as well as changing sociocultural contexts in which international adoptions have taken place. By listening to adoptees from various life stages conceptualize their adoptee status and identity, this dissertation underscores the fact that adoptee identity is a product of complex process, emerging over the life course rather than a static category.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Jane J. Park
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.